Vancouver police have been seeing red at the alarming rate of increase in sexual assaults report in Vancouver. There has been a sudden rise of cases in the Granville Entertainment District.
If statistics of July from this year and the last year are compared, 16 cases were reported this year as against 10 in 2020. The number was 7 in July 2019. Eight cases ranging from groping and forced intercourse were reported from the Granville Entertainment District only.
Constable Tania Visintin said that it was a matter of concern for the Vancouver police department, as reported by the Vancouver Sun.
Vancouver PD has started an educational campaign on social media to ward off attacks of these kinds with the name Hands Off to spread awareness. Visintin said the campaign aims to let people know that any unwarranted touch on the person is sexual assault, and the perpetrator of such an act can go to jail for that.
She also revealed that many incidents pertaining to sexual assaults go unreported. The police department takes extra care and caution while dealing with these complaints. They make sure that the dignity and integrity of the victim are maintained and upheld.
The department takes proactive steps in deterring people from attempting such crimes. For instance, the police issued a warning against the increasing and reckless groping incidents in April 2020 in the Champlain Heights neighbourhood in south Vancouver.
Dalya Israel lauded this police action, Executive Director of WAVAW (Women Against Violence Against Women) rape crisis centre. She believes that efforts are made to make girls more vigilant rather than focus on what triggers this behaviour.
She said WAVAW received 11 calls in July 2021 asking for hospital accompaniment due to a lack of safety. The rate is alarming as they only received a total of 20 calls last year.
Any unwanted sexual act such as touching someone when passing by or passing crude comments deeply affects the psyche of women and destroys their peace of mind. Such actions are condemned by society.
Israel believed that it is not to be forgotten that sexual assaults dropped in 2020 because of a pandemic. People were indoors, and victims didn’t get a chance to report such crimes. When the restrictions of the movement were lifted, there was a surge in reports. This is anticipated.
Good Night Out Vancouver is an NGO that focuses on preventing sexual crimes or crimes against gender in Vancouver. Its founder Stacey Forrester revealed that street teams from the organisation have been patrolling the Granville Entertainment area after the lockdown ended since July 2021.
The teams observed that the level of intoxication among people who they met at night was higher. However, they cannot point out whether it was due to heavy consumption or reduced alcohol tolerance.
The street teams patrol the Granville area from 12:00 am to 4:00 am on weekends. They dress in peach and carry essentials such as mobile phone chargers, water bottles, etc. They coordinate with venues that are open at night. They also assist inebriated people and others in finding a safe ride home.